Our December guide for start-ups
14 Dec 2021
Are you ready for the festive break? Our December guide for start-ups.
The season of goodwill is upon us, so here at Rebank, we thought we’d gift our growing community of start-ups with a best-practice guide to getting your finances in order before the New Year. From compliance and payroll to end-of-year bookkeeping, we want to help you take a well-earned break for the holidays, without the stress of unpaid bills or irate shareholders.
In addition to considering our December ‘to-do’ list, it’s important to take professional advice from your accountant or lawyer. As with most things in life, finding a proactive and professional individual or company who can advise you on financial and compliance matters when you are approaching the end of the year is extremely valuable.
Get started on your December ‘to-do’ list
1. Payroll: most companies run payroll early in December, and almost always before Christmas, regardless of usual timings during other months of the year. This is not only easier for whoever on your team is responsible for ensuring people are paid, it’s usually well received by team members who probably have additional expenses to cover in the run up to Christmas. Early payroll in December also sends a message about the culture of your business, namely that you are happy to pay staff early with the expectation that business activity will be either stopped or reduced over the holiday season and they should also be taking a break to spend time with family and friends.
✅ Plan ahead and make sure a date is agreed for the December payroll in good time
✅ Let your accountant know the agreed payroll date as soon as possible. Don’t forget to inform them about new starters or leavers so the final payee list is accurate
✅ Share the good news. For reasons already covered, an early payroll sends a positive message to your team, so take the opportunity to let them know
2. Unpaid bills and expenses: No one wants to have service disruption over the Christmas period, so it’s worth taking stock of any outstanding invoices and when they need to be paid. Many suppliers will be chasing payment before the year-end. Plus, you don’t want to be logging into your business account over the holidays to pay a bill when you should be relaxing.
✅ Review all bills and see if payments need to be scheduled between Christmas and New Year
✅ Ensure you have funds available in the right accounts so there are no payment problems over the holidays
3. Move money early: Don’t forget, most banks will be closed for a few days over the holiday period, plus there may be delays on international payments. If you need to move money between companies to account for Christmas closures, do this as early as possible in December.
✅ Consider how much cash you need to have available in December to account for bills or delays to payments – we recommend around three times your usual monthly costs, or enough to last until the end of February
✅ As well as unpaid bills, businesses need to consider whether additional cash is needed for tax payments.
✅ Moving money early in the month will allow more time to prepare any year-end accounting documentation needed
4. Compliance: Failure to file documentation before end of year accounting during December such as intercompany documentation, can put your company at more than just reputational risk. By the end of the month, and certainly before you leave to take a Christmas break, your start-up should have a number of things in place to remain compliant. Depending on your size, you may have an in-house accountant or lawyer who will take responsibility for all year-end compliance requirements.
✅ By the end of December, start-ups should have their intercompany transfers properly documented, covering all transactions between companies and subsidiaries, and made sure to give this to your accountant. Failure to do so can land you with significant fines from tax authorities
✅ Have all required Board meetings taken place and been documented? In Delaware, for example, Board meetings are required at least once a year and minutes filed. It’s crucial to check your business’ requirements
✅ What other documents do you need to consider? Have shareholding disclosure rules been met? Remember, failure to ensure all documentation has been finalised and passed over may result in fines or penalties
✅ Finally, have you agreed on dates for year-end accounting to be complete? If you qualify for R&D tax relief, you will want your claim to be filed and funds repaid as soon as possible – even more essential for start-ups on tighter budgets
Follow our simple checklist and you’ll be able to enjoy the festive break without any unexpected payments, or panics over missing documents. The Rebank team wishes you a relaxing Christmas, and hope our latest blog ensures you can switch off, recharge and enjoy your time away from the business.